How to upgrade public transport in the capital

Moscow’s networks of minibuses will soon be gone, replaced by low-floor buses in a process starting before the end of the year. The Department of Transport believes that the cost of transport should drop by 30-40%; but market players, many of whom are now being forced out, believe the Mosgortrans monopoly will cause prices to go up

The Department of Transport promises that by June 2015 there will be a big change in the private road transport situation in Moscow. This is not the first time when discussions have taken place, but – according to market players – new rules for their segment will already have been introduced by government decree by November 1st.

The principle elements of this law are the following: first, private carriers must sign a five-year contract with the city. Officials will choose passenger carriers in an open competition.

Secondly, one all-city transport pass will allow users to use any minibus routes in the city, while senior citizens, disabled people and students will have a card allowing travel to be free of charge.

Thirdly, travel prices will be set by the Department of Transport, meaning that they should fall, as promised by the Department.

As well as reforming private transportation, City Hall is also determined to optimize minibus networks. Opinion polls on which city routes can be abolished have already been conducted since 2012, and optimization is close to completion. Authorities have agreed to develop a network that eliminates duplication between private and municipal carriers, the Department announced. Exactly how many routes will be cut is still unknown, but in principle this does not matter, believes Alexander Ovanesov, Managing Partner atStrategy Partners Group, a member of the Public Advisory Council on complex transport problems in Moscow. “Vehicles should not be racing each other on the actual road, but competing to operate on the actual route itself” he said. However, it remains unclear how strong the competition for routes is. Competitions will be held every 5 years, meaning that in the intensely competitive market, which has many private operators, many will be forced out of business.


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